Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Biz: Pro Publica, "A Great Idea Trapped by the Worst Instincts of Commercial Journalism"

Investigative journalism project
MWC News - Vancouver,Canada
By Robert Jensen Pro Publica, an initiative launched last month in the United States to help revitalize investigative journalism, is a great idea trapped by ...
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jensen, apparently believing like I do, that the range of problems these newly funded 'Pro Publica' journalists are supposed to be tackling, "from product safety to securities fraud" is laughably narrow, asks wouldn't if be better if instead:

"the group investigated the commodification of everything in a capitalist system and the fundamental illegitimacy of corporate structures? What if instead of pointing at "flaws in our system of criminal justice to practices that undermine fair elections," Pro Publica journalists covered how the law legitimizes the everyday crimes of the powerful and how money-dominated pseudo-elections eliminate meaningful democracy?

My "what if" is much simpler and plainer than that. What if this group of journalists started with the premise that each human life on this planet was equally worthy and so the most important news stories are those stories which concern the greatest number of people in the most serious (life-and-death) ways? To see what this news looks like, see my website: . What if journalists heeded the challenges presented to them 40 years ago by Martin Luther King Jr. just 4 days before he was gunned down - the challenge "to develop a world perspective" and the challenge "to rid our nation and the world of poverty."

Pro publica advises that their "newsroom will focus exclusively on truly important stories, stories with "moral force."

Please tell me, Pro Publica, on how you can do that if your news stories don’t address the needless death each year of 11 million kids? Please tell me how any entity that calls themselves a newsroom or a news publication can claim to provide news when it doesn't address the stories which affect the largest number of human beings in the most serious way? How many left wing alternative news internet & other entities will continue NOT prominently addressing THE MOST PRESSING PROBLEMS FACING HUMANITY TODAY - like the very dismal state of humanity itself, with 41 percent of it without sanitation; 17 percent without clean water; and 25 percent without electricity? That's my litmus test for "TRULY IMPORTANT STORIES, STORIES WITH 'MORAL FORCE', those that address the most pressing problems facing humanity. What's your litmus test?

P.S. - For a link to King's complete sermon, and for footnotes for all the above statistics, as well as information on the accuracy of such statistics generally, see my website, , and more particularly, to read a discussion on how those in power don't even see fit to accurately count humanity or quantify its needless death & suffering even though everyone knows that to solve a problem you first have to know its scope, see . That story alone would make for incredibly important investigative journalism that still needs to be done. Is there anything more important than the daily UNNECESSARY death and suffering that takes place in this world today on an unimaginable scale? If not, then there's no more important news story. It's that simple.